Home away from home
The future for the serviced apartment market in Nanjing looks promising due to the improved transport infrastructure and new development projects, according to Jason Low, general manager of Fraser Suites Nanjing. These include the opening of Nanjing South station, expansion of the international airport and development of the 15-square-kilometre Sino-Singapore Nanjing Eco Hi-Tech Island project.
He says despite the availability of many international hotels, there has been a strong demand for serviced residences.
'Hotels in Nanjing are usually located in the city centre, which is not an ideal living environment for long-stay guests due to congested traffic, noise and pollution problems. The hotel environment is also not favourable for long-stay guests, as hotels usually have mixed customer types, such as meeting delegates, tourist groups or large groups attending weddings or other large banquets.'
He says rather than hotels, the competition comes mainly from villas mostly owned by wealthy locals as an investment. 'They are offering very low rents, but one has to consider other aspects such as safety and security, breakdown of appliances, leakages and breakages. These are often neglected by landlords, but could turn into a nightmare for tenants.'
Low says serviced residences are mostly suitable for expatriates. 'The service and facilities can help expatriates settle in a new country and city easier. And, because serviced apartments usually also take care of the needs of family members, they don't need to worry about their well-being,' he says. He adds that apart from long-stay guests, serviced apartments are also suitable for travellers on short trips for business or leisure. Most clients of Fraser Suites Nanjing come from countries such as Germany, Sweden, Italy, France, and the United States. Many work in industries such as petrochemicals, banking and finance, automotive, manufacturing and engineering.